I’m a fan of the camellia, also called the rose of winter. Blooms appear between September and May according to the species and cultivar. Pictured is Camellia japonica, a common species. Flowers can be pink, white, or red. Flowers and leaves may be variegated.
Blooms form along the branches of the woody shrub. Leaves stay green and glossy all year. In ground, camellias may reach 6-12 ft. in height and prefer slightly acid loam soil.
Camellias appear in 11th Century Chinese paintings. Englishmen found camellias in Japan. Later they were brought to the U. S. in the 1800’s where they grow in the South, USDA Zone 7-9.
My mother had a camellia shrub that grew well along the north side of the house in area somewhat protected from unseasonal frost. Camellias bloomed around Mother’s Day there and my grandmother, mother, and I wore camellia corsages to celebrate our mothers.
To find out how to grow camellias in containers, see the other Plant Exchange camellia feature.